Updated: Dec 22, 2020
A Positive Mental Health Environment at Home is important because:
Poor mental health is attributed to cause at least 8 millions deaths a year globally, or 14.3% of the world’ population, and increases the mortality rate of these individuals by about 2.2% as compared to a healthy adult
30% of all adults develop some form of mental illness in their lifetime, with 35-50% in high-income and 76-85% in low & medium income countries live with it without receiving any treatments (pg. 198)
Untreated mental health conditions such as depression can lead to suicidal ideation and suicide, which alone claims 800,000 deaths per year globally
(Source: WELL v2, 2018)
Spaces can nourish our mental and emotional health through a comfortable living, working and sleeping environment, while simultaneously mitigating stressors that can cause us short-term and long-term anguish.
Failure for a space to do so can contribute to and exacerbate other well-being issues, either directly or indirectly, such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease (WELL v2, 2018, pg. 198).
For those who struggle with substance or alcohol abuse, spatial design can be used to help reshape behavioral patterns into more positive ones.
By making smarter choices for our spaces, quarantining for longer periods of time may become more manageable, enjoyable and perhaps more hopeful, especially over the harsher winter months of a COVID pandemic.
Here are therefore 18 DIY Hacks for a Positive Mental Health Environment at Home (from an individual’s parameter to spatial parameters) within a reasonable price range:
1) Educate yourself on Mental Health
Educating yourself on mental health is important because it prepares you to recognize signs and symptoms ahead of time, within yourself and in others, and to be equipped with knowledge on how to heal from them as well.
There are plenty of resources on the World Wide Web, however if you live in Canada, please refer to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health here.
2) Equip yourself with resources regarding Crisis Hotlines
Suicide claims an average of 4000 Canadian lives each year, according to Statistics Canada.
If you or someone you know is going through a crisis, or is having suicidal thoughts, please have them call Crisis Service Canada at their toll free number at 1-833-456-4566. They are open 24/7, 365 days a year.
3) Get a Mental Health assessment
Cost: $0 (Covered by OHIP, Ontario Health Insurance Plan)
This can be done through an online service, or via an in-person assessment with a Mental Health professional.
The professional will be able to guide their patient on their next steps on a case-by-case assessment basis.
4) Ban the use of Recreational Drugs, Tobacco and Opioids at Home
According to the American Medical Association, substance abuse has statistically been shown to perpetuate mental health issues (29% of all cases) and vice versa (50% of all cases) (HelpGuide, 2020).
To resolve these challenges, an individual should seek professional help, and with their guidance, find ways to help them eliminate drug use from their lifestyle also (i.e. tobacco and opioids also).
5) Be mindful of Alcohol consumption
Both the WHO (World Health Organization) and CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) recommend the following guidelines:
“If you're a man, have no more than 3 standard drinks a day on most days and no more than 15 drinks a week
If you're a woman, have no more than 2 standard drinks a day on most days and no more than 10 drinks a week” (CAMH, 2018)
Also, refrain from drinking entirely if you are pregnant, intend to drive or are to be responsible for others in a vehicle.
Furthermore, if you are taking medication that may interfere with alcohol, if you are mentally or physically ill, or you have an alcohol addiction, consider taking an alternative mode of transportation.
6) Take a 10 to 20 minute Nap early in the afternoon, when needed
Although it is recommended that adults (age 18 and over) should get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day (MayoClinic.org, 2019), this can sometimes be insufficient, either because of restlessness or lack of quantity.
Consider taking a 10 to 20 minute early in the afternoon, when needed, to restore your energy and mental focus. Set an alarm so that you do not exceed 30 minutes as it has been shown to disrupt your sleep cycles in the evening.